This post was written for Daily Hive by Callie Hitchcock.
Vancouver’s used bookstores offer a welcome respite for local literary lovers to escape.
To help you find your new favourite spot, we’ve compiled a list of the best used bookstores in Vancouver.
Started by two former Macleod’s employees, the extensive, and not to mention eclectic, selection on offer at Paper Hound has so many gems. Muted and bookish, the aesthetic of the store is also as intriguing as its offerings – there’s even a coin-operated poem machine. The store also regularly hosts literary events, including spots to support local independent publishing houses. Make sure you check out the chapbook carousel in the back right-hand corner, which is judiciously refilled with new names every week or so.
Address: 344 West Pender Street, Vancouver
Pulpfiction is another mainstay for Vancouver readers. Their new releases section in the front of the store has a lot of great finds for contemporary culture: theory, novels, art books, and even a fair amount of the New York Review Books classics collection. They also have a little part of the wall dedicated to staff picks, which often yield some good finds. The store itself is bright and inviting and the people who work there are very knowledgeable.
Address: 2422 Main Street, Vancouver
Pulpfiction at Broadway and MacDonald is small but mighty. While the Main Street location has more selection, Pulpfiction at MacDonald has a well-curated choice that maintains the Pulpfiction standard for thoughtfully chosen reads. Clean, quaint, cute, it’s well worth checking out while you wait for the 99.
Address: 2754 West Broadway, Vancouver
MacLeod’s is a sensory overload. Books in piles six feet tall, books on shelves, books on windowsills, books in boxes. The owner, Don Stewart, bought the location 40 years ago when he was 21 and is very skilled in the trade of rare books. MacLeod’s has the most diverse range of topics of any Vancouver bookstore: optometry, ethnography, boxes upon boxes of Nancy Drew — there’s something for everyone. Getting up close and personal with all those books gives the place a warm and cozy feel, while the high ceilings make Macleod’s feel like a cathedral — what a place to feel holy.
Address: 455 West Pender Street, Vancouver
The People’s Co-op Bookstore is volunteer run (if you haven’t already guessed by the name), and they hold many events to showcase local writing talent. They also hold regular reading series and recently held a viewing party for the final US presidential debate. The People’s Co-op is part of the community and makes this place a special magnet for people looking to make a connection: both literary and personal.
Address: 1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Carson Books and Records has the “books piled high, Harry Potter under the stairs” vibe really working for it. They have a good selection of classic and popular literature, while also diving into topical interests thoroughly. Come for the coziness, stay for the extensive children’s literature.
Address: 4340 Main Street, Vancouver
One of Vancouver’s hidden gems, Albion Books sells books, vinyl, comics, and even has a space dedicated to local writers’ work. They have beautiful vintage pulp fiction and an astonishing amount of selection considering the small amount of space. With 25 years under its belt, Albion is a passion project for all things literary.
Address: 523 Richards Street, Vancouver
Canterbury Tales has a way of luring you in with material you never knew you liked. Every time you stop in, you leave with something that wouldn’t have normally caught your eye, but therein lies the magic of the store. Because Commercial Drive is such an eclectic mix, Canterbury offers books for people from all walks of life’ so the best advice is to roam around the store rather than heading straight for the sections that you usually read.
Address: 2010 Commercial Drive, Vancouver